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Dave Dombrowski’s Offseason Splashes will Make or Break October for Boston Red Sox

On the heels of finishing in the American League East basement three times in four years, the Boston Red Sox made a big change last summer by hiring Dave Dombrowski. He arrived with a certain reputation and has lived up to it thus far.

The biggest thing on his 2016 to-do list was getting the Red Sox back into the postseason before designated hitter David Ortiz rode off into the sunset. He officially crossed that off his list about a week ago, but it’s really just the beginning.

In October once again – and mostly with players from the last front office regime – two of Dombrowski’s biggest offseason moves from last winter will be crucial pieces to the team’s success or demise.

Boston’s greatest need following a disappointing 2015 was obvious: pitching. They needed an ace at the front of the rotation and shutdown relievers at the back of the bullpen. In typical Dombrowski fashion, he made big splashes to fill those needs by trading four prospects for Craig Kimbrel and throwing a bunch of money at David Price.

Risky moves? Yes. Moves the Red Sox hadn’t made in recent years? Yes. But with a win-now mentality, they had to be made. Every acquisition comes with risk, but Kimbrel and Price were as close to slam-dunks as it could possibly be with regard to production.

Throughout their respective careers, each hurler has been a consistent force when toeing the rubber. That’s why 2016 has been frustrating for fans.

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MLB Power Rankings 2016: Week 2 – April

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Hunter Stokes (BBBA Featured Writer) 

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Disclaimer:  We based these rankings on best strength to win the World Series.  Therefore some teams that have an easier division to play in, with the least path of resistance to the postseason overall may be ranked a lot higher than a club who is equally talented, yet may play in a juggernaut of a division.

The Cubs will top our list for a second straight week despite losing 2 out of 3 games to the Rockies at Wrigley Field this weekend.  The biggest reason is the pitching.

Jake Arrieta is 3 – 0, and has picked up right where we he left off in 2015, and Jon Lester has thrown awesome too.  The Bullpen has also been good.

The bats are too solid not to come around and gel as the season moves along.  They are playing .750 baseball after a 4 – 2 week still.

Bryce Harper is the best player on the planet, and has homered in 6 straight contests at Citizens Bank Ball Park (4 overall in a row for the MLB this year.)

Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg. Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy are their top players – and all performing like it, the rest of the club is following through in their secondary roles.  This team is scary.

I have the Royals as the top American League club.  This squad is 8 – 1 in games that are not started by back end of the rotation man Chris Young.

The reigning 2 time pennant winners have company on the top of the Division to make it interesting, however this team has the better pedigree the last few years.

Some may say with a weekend series win – that the Dodgers should be put in front of the Giants, yet they are still only one game ahead of San Francisco.

With the Giants – there is no real weakness, while with the Los Angeles team, the Bullpen is not giving everyone confidence in the back half of games.

The Dodger Blue is still in the top 5, so I am high on them. Kenta Maeda could be the steal of the winter with how this guy is throwing so far.  Reinforcements are starting to come back. Read the rest of this entry

Odds To Win The 2016 AL Cy Young In The MLB: Best And Worst Bets

Only a few missed starts over the last several years (in April and March) have stopped the lanky LHP from winning a Cy Young Award thus far. His favorite status is the proper odd - and he should be the #1 guy to win the Award. I hate betting on the favorite though, and in fact, will skip the 3 of the last 4 Cy Young winners on the list - by bypassing them for wagering.

Only a few missed starts over the last several years (in April and March) have stopped the lanky LHP from winning a Cy Young Award thus far. His favorite status is the proper odd – and he should be the #1 guy to win the Award. I hate betting on the favorite though, and in fact, will skip the 3 of the last 4 Cy Young winners on the list – by bypassing them for wagering.

Hunter Stokes (BBBA Featured Writer) 

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When gambling establishments put forth their player specials as this it is rarely ever worth it to go for the top 2 picks to win (value – wise).

This doesn’t mean the favorite still won’t win.

Take the ‘Junior Circuit’ Cy Young race for instance.  Chris Sale is listed as +300. whereas David Price and Corey Kluber are next with +350.  2015’s winner Dallas Keuchel is 4th at +700 – as is Felix Hernandez.

These five players represent three of the last 5 winners. Typically these guys would all be a great throw down for the Award again in 2016.

My pick for the Award would actually be Sale, who is always a ‘dead arm’ period per spring away from taking the honors as the best chucker in the American League.

I am not going to wager on any of those guys though. Read the rest of this entry

Betting Specials: # Of No-Hitters, Will There Be A Guy With 50 Saves Or 16 Strikeouts In A Game For 2016?

Max Scherzer threw 2 no-hitters in 2015, and carried no - no's into the late innings on a few other occasions. It seems every night there is a no - hit watch, so 4.5 on the over/under for the year seems like a big no-brainer to throw down some cabbage on. In 2015 alone, there were 7 no-hitters hurled out.

Max Scherzer threw 2 no-hitters in 2015, and carried no – no’s into the late innings on a few other occasions. It seems every night there is a no – hit watch, so 4.5 on the over/under for the year seems like a big no-brainer to throw down some cabbage on. In 2015 alone, there were 7 no-hitters hurled out.  At +115, it will pay you $1.15 for every dollar wagered

Hunter Stokes (BBBA Featured Writer) 

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# Of No-Hitters For 2016 MLB Over/Under 4.5

Yes:  +115  or No: -115

This is a resounding yes in my view.  In 2015, Max Scherzer threw 2 no-no’s, and could have easily thrown 2 more.  This was 2 of 7 doled out last campaign.

Mike Fiers, Cole Hamels, Jake Arrieta, Hisashi Iwakuma and Chris Heston also cemented their place in history by accomplishing the feat.

There are so many teams that are loaded with HR happy clubs that have plenty of swing and miss candidates like the Houston Astros and Baltimore Orioles.  This also brings us to our next stat. Read the rest of this entry

2016 MLB Player Props: Futures Betting (Year Over/Unders)

On this list of player over/unders it may be worth a well solution to wager over on all bets across the board and go for about a 60 percent win factor. I did bet a few unders on the board.

On this list of player over/unders it may be worth a well solution to wager over on all bets across the board and go for about a 60 percent win factor. I did bet a few unders on the sheet near the end.  I continue to find value on the whole gambling aspect of listed odds.  I will throw down some more money on these selections.  I am just hoping that I don’t become too over confident for my own good.

Hunter Stokes (BBBA Featured Writer) 

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We will be going hard and heavy on these kind of articles.  I will put an advisory and write-up if I think the bet is worthy.

Las year I went 9 – 4 in Player Props, and I am looking to keep that kind of win percentage.

The 1st sector will be any player bets.  There is some serious value and things I have already earmarked for bets.  I honestly can’t believe all of the value that has been out there for picking this year.

Never did I imagine I would have bet this much already, but it is a bettors market.  I hope it doesn’t backfire on me. Read the rest of this entry

2016 MLB Preseason Power Rankings

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Hunter Stokes (BBBA Featured Writer) 

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With just 5 weeks to the regular season – and all of the important Free Agents finally being locked up with Ian Desmond signing with the Rangers, it is time to see where all 30 MLB clubs stack up.

We are going to be running weekly power rankings once the year starts on Apr.3, 2016.

The way I compile the Power Rankings is best on confidence to win the World Series.  Some clubs may be more talented (or playing better) than a squad they are behind in the rankings,  but the Division (and strength of opponents) plays a massive factor.

It is the reason why teams like the Royals or Astros will be selected above a team like the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Pittsburgh Pirates might win 90 games (which may only see one AL club join them), but because they have to contend with the Cards and Cubs in the NL Central, it will be tough for them to receive a great ranking (at least until games are played). Read the rest of this entry

Odds To Win The 2016 MLB World Series

The Cardinals continued their great play in the MLB since the turn of the millennium - with an MLB best 100 wins in 2015. The organization has transitioned to the next core of a young nucleus, while still holding on to a couple of capable veterans. Considering they have plenty of depth, and lots of payroll flexibility coming forth, the franchise could orchestrate a blockbuster trade soon. While I would favor Chicago over them slightly for the NL Central, the RedBirds, Mets, Dodgers Tigers and Mariners have the best value, while the Angels, Giants, Padres, Red Sox and D'Backs have the worst on the board this week.

The Cardinals continued their great play in the MLB since the turn of the millennium – with an MLB best 100 wins in 2015. The organization has transitioned to the next core of a young nucleus, while still holding on to a couple of capable veterans. Considering they have plenty of depth, and lots of payroll flexibility coming forth, the franchise could orchestrate a blockbuster trade soon. While I would favor Chicago over them slightly for the NL Central, the RedBirds, Mets, Dodgers Tigers and Mariners have the best value, while the Angels, Giants, Padres, Red Sox and D’Backs have the worst on the board this week.

Hunter Stokes (BBBA Featured Writer) 

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I was all set to pounce on my 1st American League bet for the Fall Classic in 2016 earlier this week – when the O’s were at +5000, and presumably bringing both Dexter Fowler and Yovani Gallardo into the stable. 

With Fowler opting back to Chicago, the odd also dropped to +4500 in the meantime (also following the Gallardo wait time for the physical fiasco), and the value is no longer there. 

Baltimore is a low 80 wins team in my view, and will not have enough for the postseason.  Fowler would have added a few W’s for sure.

Of course with the chaos that has ensued,  the Cubs have gone from +700 to +650 prohibitive best odd.  There is no doubt in my mind they should be the consensus favorite. 

One of these years the #1 seed will capitalize and win.  I am still not plunking down cabbage at that clip though.

If I were to do my year end picks right now, I would still have Chicago ending their World Series 108 seasons drought – but I can’t place them as twice the favorite as the St. Louis Cardinals.

Still not sold on the Cubs Bullpen either, and I think Jon Lester can be had in the postseason.  The Mets also line up favorably versus Chicago based on pitching matchups.  New York has the better odds to wager with.

I am currently writing a faceoff piece between the Cubbies and Cards that I will post over the weekend.  The difference is not a whopping 8 or 10 games like FanGraphs and PECOTA say.  St. Louis should still be in the mid 90’s for victories by years end. Read the rest of this entry

Projected Top 5 Save Leaders In The American And National League For MLB 2016

Craig Kimbrel is still about as filthy as they come in nailing down games in the Majors. With 225 Saves and a 1.63 ERA in the last 5 years of his career, this 27 year old flamethrower brings his talents to Beantown and a top rated club. Last year was the 1st season he didn't lead the National League after four consecutive years of leading the Senior Circuit. He still managed 39 Saves for a 74 win San Diego team. Since the Red Sox are going to be somewhere in the 90 win range, Kimbrel should at least be in the mid 40's in Saves again for 2016.

Craig Kimbrel is still about as filthy as they come in nailing down games in the Majors. With 225 Saves and a 1.63 ERA in the last 5 years of his career, this 27 year old flamethrower brings his talents to Beantown and a top rated club. Last year was the 1st season he didn’t lead the National League after four consecutive years of leading the Senior Circuit. He still managed 39 Saves for a 74 win San Diego team. Since the Red Sox are going to be somewhere in the 90 win range, Kimbrel should at least be in the mid 40’s in Saves again for 2016.

Hunter Stokes (BBBA Featured Writer) 

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Figuring out the Saves Leaders for the 2016 year is a lot easier to project than the Holds Leaders we did last week.  Perhaps the easiest to discern is also the National League.

Since I projected 7 teams will win 90+ games in the Senior Circuit I have listed 5 teams with their Closer out of the fold there.  I did however, leave out Hector Rondon and Mark Melancon.

I feel the Bucs may trade Melancon despite being in a position to make the playoffs.   I also think the Cubs will blow out a ton of clubs this season in games, and therefore not need Rondon to lockdown a 3 run or under lead.

This is the same reason why I won’t label Roberto Osuna for the top 5 in the American League either.  It is also not unfathomable to see the Jays go with Drew Storen to close down games.

I fully think that Craig Kimbrel will lead the entire Major Leagues for the Boston Red Sox as their Closer.

I may have gone with Aroldis Chapman on the list as well, however his pending suspension for his domestic violence call in should see him riding pine for at least 25 games.  The New York Yankees should still lead the Junior Circuit for total team Saves.
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Top 5 Projected MLB Holds Leaders (AL + NL) In 2016

With so much uncertainty in the air about Mark Melancon's fate with the club, I can't pick Tony Watson to win this category for a 2nd straight year. He was also the runner up in the 2014 season. I say he is the Closer in the 2nd half of the year. His teammate Jared Hughes will get plenty of opportunities all year in late inning relief.

With so much uncertainty in the air about Mark Melancon’s fate with the club, I can’t pick Tony Watson to win this category for a 2nd straight year. He was also the runner-up in the 2014 season. I say he is the Closer in the 2nd half of the year. His teammate Jared Hughes will get plenty of opportunities all year in late inning relief.

Hunter Stokes (BBBA Featured Writer) 

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It is time to get our fantasy teams ready in 2016.  Because of the long winter year for certain players, the Relievers market has a pile of roster moves to go down before opening weekend in April.  There are some guys that could make the list, but I am itching to write my list.

For the reasons I was just talking about, Jeremy Affeldt, Matt Thornton, Casey Janssen, Manny Parra, Eric O’Flaherty, Tommy Hunter, Franklin Morales, Neal Cotts, Nathan Adcock, Wesley Wright, Matt Capps, Sergio Santos, Ryan Webb and Joe Beimel won’t appear – although only a couple of those guys are even relevant to the Holds stat.

The biggest questions to think of include trade possibilities.  Will the Pirates trade Mark Melancon?  If this happens, NL Leader of Holds last year, Tony Watson, may see some time as the Closer for the Bucs. Read the rest of this entry

MLB Power Rankings New Year Of 2016

Perhaps the Back to the Future Prediction was off by just one year. The Cubs , who are immensely loaded with young offensive superstars added another to the mix with the Jason Heyward signing. Add that to a revamped Bullpen, strong Starters signed last year in Jon Lester and Jason Hammel, coupled with John Lackey this year, and this team is the clear cut #1 ranked team. Oh yeah..They even have depth to make another trade should they need to.

Perhaps the Back to the Future Prediction was off by just one year. The Cubs , who are immensely loaded with young offensive superstars added another to the mix with the Jason Heyward signing. Add that to a revamped Bullpen, strong Starters signed last year in Jon Lester and Jason Hammel, coupled with John Lackey this year, and this team is the clear cut #1 ranked team. Oh yeah..They even have depth to make another trade should they need to.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part-Owner) 

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(1) Chicago Cubs: Big additions of Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist and John Lackey.  Tonnes of young superstars only ging to get better.

(2) NY Mets:  Starting Pitching best in the Majors.  Offensive depth better in offseason.  Need David Wright to stay healthy.  NL East easiest bottom 3 teams in the bigs.

(3) Kansas City Royals:  Easiest Division in the Majors.  Back to Back AL Pennants and defending World Series Champs.  Look for some more mid year deals. (more…)

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